The Exorcist

The Exorcist ★★★★★

Watched as part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Classic Horror All-Nighter.

I first watched The Exorcist in my mid teens at the height of my obsession with slasher and splatter Horror and I'm ashamed to say I was bored by it. The next time I caught it I was in my early twenties and decided it faired better the second time around. As I've gotten older and the very notion of having a child of my own becomes closer to a reality The Exorcist becomes more unsettling and intensely horrific.

The mother/daughter relationship between Ellen Burstyn's Chris and Linda Blair's Regan is exceptionally conveyed within both the script and their performances. Establishing their affection for one another early on is crucial to the degradation of both characters as the daughter is corrupted. The mother, helpless and desperate while talking to doctors and professionals is utterly harrowing and it leads to a last resort involving two priests, a staircase and bucket loads of pea soup.

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells is utilised sparingly and the subliminal imagery and practical effects are creative and unsettling. Having rewatched this in a cinema I maintain that the sound design is a exercise in recreating a primal fear with it's abrasive and shocking use of audio and low, guttural hums and bass frequencies.

As a kid, I was nonplussed by The Exorcist as I had no tangible connection to its story and it wasn't filled to the brim with gruesomeness. But then... as a kid I used to think Limp Bizkit were pretty cool, so what did I know?

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